• Policy Watch SA

IN THE LOOP (2)

Updated: a day ago




Vol. 1 No.2 (covering the week ending 6 August 2021)*


A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR


Last week's developments were dominated by the Cabinet reshuffle and announcements on a date provisionally set for local government elections. Regarding interventions to address the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 disaster management measures, the South African Social Security Agency system is now open for relief-of-social-distress grant applications. However, the regulations on post-unrest unemployment benefits for people whose jobs were affected by the riots have still not been gazetted.


Please click anything in red and underlined to access the original documents. Summaries of government documents featured in this newsletter are available to LEGALBRIEF TODAY subscribers and can be found under 'Policy Watch'.


This newsletter should not be interpreted to reflect the views of its author or those of any publications to which it refers.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

  • a date for the local government elections having been gazetted simply as a formality (see 'FROM THE POWERS THAT BE' below), the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has issued a media statement on the process now being followed (including its application to the Constitutional Court for the date to be set aside, informed by recommendations in the Moseneke Inquiry report)

CABINET RESHUFFLE (taken from President Cyril Ramaphosa's media statement)

  • on state security: 'While calm has been restored to the affected areas and our law enforcement agencies are working hard to bring those responsible to justice, we have acknowledged that our security services were found wanting in several respects.'

  • on the finance ministry: 'I have also accepted a long-standing request by Minister Tito Mboweni to be excused from his position as Minister of Finance.'

  • on the health ministry: 'I am grateful to Minister Mkhize for his service, and particularly for the outstanding leadership he has provided in the face of the worst pandemic in over a century.'

PUBLIC SERVICE WAGE AGREEMENT

  • details of an agreement following recent negotiations

POST-SOCIAL UNREST UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

  • no developments to report, presumably because the promised regulations are still being drafted

THE EXTENDED SOCIAL-RELIEF-OF-DISTRESS GRANT

  • the criteria to be met when applying each month for the R350 grant are spelled out in Social Development Lindiwe Zulu's speaking notes for last week's media briefing



RULES & REGULATIONS ...

OF GENERAL INTEREST

  • the local government elections timetable (bearing in mind that, according to its media statement, the IEC has already approached the Constitutional Court for a postponement, in keeping with recommendations in the Moseneke Inquiry report)

... OF SECTOR-SPECIFIC INTEREST

  • the Legal Aid SA regulations in place since 2017 have been amended (tomorrow's LEGALBRIEF TODAY includes more details, under 'Policy Watch')

  • the Sugar Association of SA's exemption from certain sections of the Competition Act has been extended (more details in tomorrow's LEGALBRIEF TODAY, under 'Policy Watch')

POLICY & LEGISLATION OF GENERAL INTEREST

  • sub-section 10(1) of the Promotion of Equality & Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act should now 'be read to refer exclusively to speech that is harmful and incites hatred', according to a Ministry of Justice & Correctional Services media statement on the Constitutional Court's recent 'Qwelane judgment'

  • bringing 'certainty and clarity as to what constitutes hate speech' the judgment enables parliament to proceed with processing the Prevention & Combating of Hate Crimes & Hate Speech Bill, according to Justice & Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola

  • an Intergovernmental Monitoring, Support & Intervention Bill apparently still being drafted is expected to ‘remedy' the 'challenges' experienced when a provincial government intervenes to address municipal malfunction

POLICY & LEGISLATION OF SECTOR-SPECIFIC INTEREST

  • the Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill has been tabled in parliament and will eventually replace the 1983 Agricultural Pests Act

  • public hearings on certain sections of the Copyright Amendment Bill are expected to begin on Wednesday (this is noting President Cyril Ramaphosa's reservations about the constitutionality of some of these sections, which is one reason for the Bill's return to parliament)

OUT FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

  • nothing new, although readers are referred to the note below on documents released towards the end of last month by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA)



COVID-19

  • the 19 July ministerial directive on measures to be taken across the sports, arts and culture sector has been aligned with the adjusted lockdown level three regulations and once again imposes a (now expired) 72-hour deadline on sports and recreational bodies still busy preparing bio-environmental safety proposals

  • Sport, Arts & Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has refuted allegations of his department's 'unresponsiveness to the dire needs of the creative sector'

  • the Department of Public Service & Administration is 'concerned' about 'public servants who see nothing wrong in applying for the (social-relief-of-distress) grant while they have a source of income'

  • the guidelines for mines preparing a code of good practice have been replaced (summarised in tomorrow's LEGALBRIEF TODAY, under 'Policy Watch')


FROM THE POWERS THAT BE

  • Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on the local government elections:

'It is therefore clear that we still must go ahead to call the elections and gazette the date. This will also enable the IEC to go ahead and file papers in the Constitutional Court to postpone an election that has been called ... If the Constitutional Court allows for the postponement of course we will abide. In gazetting the date, we are no way seeking to contradict the inquiry’s conclusion or the IEC’s contemplated actions. We are just merely fulfilling our obligations.'

'There has been criticism surrounding the low uptake of the loan guarantees. It is important to note that the loan guarantee scheme was a backstop for cases where the commercial banking sector was unable to provide credit relief to borrowers due to high credit risk. In practice, banks responded quickly and very successfully, acting swiftly to support the firms to which they lend. In addition, small and medium businesses appear to have been reluctant to take up more debt, especially in an environment characterised by deteriorating confidence, a sluggish recovery and heightened economic uncertainty.'

  • Forestry, Fisheries & the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy on wildlife conservation:

'The only long-term sustainable solution to wildlife management and conservation is to ensure communities living on the outskirts of our national parks benefit from tourism and other opportunities.'


'Schools always end up being soft targets during protests and it is the poorest of the poor learners that suffer.' (National Assembly Basic Education Committee chair Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba)


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